Modern Player Accessibility Issues with Color

It appears one cannot change or manage the color of most text and controls in the modern player other than the Accent Color. Is that true?

Upon testing the default colors for both the Dark and Light Player Themes so our department can use the Modern Player in our course designs, I find that neither player meets WCAG 2.0 A, or AA criteria 1.4.1 and 1.4.11 though the player icons do meet the criteria.

Is there some way we can at least modify the text colors in the modern player, to apply some accessibility compliance?

(please see the attached results image of the dark player)WCAG contrast analysis of Modern Player - Dark Theme

52 Replies
Bret Jorgensen

Hi Peter, 

I'm sorry for the delay, and I understand your frustrations. It feels like a simple fix, but the changes required were not trivial and touched on many behind the scenes player elements. The feature to address this is currently in development and nearing beta. We've coupled this change with another feature, and I believe both will be worth the wait.

Your case remains in my queue, and as I mentioned a couple of months ago, I have you slated for the beta program to preview this feature. Over the next two months, we have other enhancements coming to our Accessibility support, and this is just one of them.

Thanks for the suggested workaround, Matthew. 

Matthew Bibby
Lauren Connelly

Hi Laurie!

The new Modern Player is currently in beta, so we are close to releasing this feature in an upcoming release. We'll keep you posted in this discussion when it ships!

The Modern Player was announced in late 2018:  https://articulate.com/support/article/Storyline-360-Modern-Player

This support article doesn’t specify that this is still in beta or that it doesn’t meet accessibility requirements. However, this issue is noted on Articulate’s roadmap: https://articulate.com/support/article/Articulate-360-Feature-Roadmap 

I think that these limitations needs to be more widely published. They should be noted in support articles regarding the player, the VPAT should accurately reflect the current capabilities of Storyline and articles that focus on highlighting new accessibility features in Storyline should also highlight the current limitations (https://articulate.com/support/article/Storyline-360-Accessible-Player).

Accessibility isn’t a choice for many of us. It’s something that we are required to implement to a certain standard as per the law. And it’s something that we want to implement properly for the benefit of our learners.

I greatly appreciate the renewed focus on accessibility and applaud Articulate for making these changes. But a lot more could be done to accurately communicate what currently works and what doesn’t.

The Modern Player has been heavily advertised by Articulate. Why is this the case if the player doesn’t meet basic accessibility standards? Why is it such a prominent feature if it’s still in beta (years after release?)

Or when you say “the new modern player is currently in beta” do you mean something else? 

As had been noted in this thread multiple times previously, the current VPAT is misleading.

VPATs are “...an exercise in transparency, consistency, and accuracy. Creating a VPAT that accurately represents how accessible your product, service, website, or other digital property is doesn’t just benefit potential consumers—it is also a tool for finding those places where your current offering may be falling short.”

In my opinion, the VPAT should have been updated 9 months ago when this issue was first raised. Can you please explain to me how it’s okay for such an important document to be misleading your customers for the better part of a year? Or am I misunderstanding the purpose of a VPAT?

Ren Gomez

Hi Matthew, 

Thanks for following-up and sharing some of the hurdles you’re facing, and I apologize for the confusion surrounding the Modern Player.

You’re right that we released the Modern Player in 2018, and we are currently focusing on improving color contrast to meet WCAG guidelines. These improvements were released in our beta group recently, which is our standard approach for all updates to Articulate 360.  If you’d like to participate in the beta program, I’ll be happy to connect you with my team!

Also, I appreciate some of the pain points you’ve discussed regarding the VPAT and current limitations. For WCAG 1.4.3, we make mention of current improvements to ensure all elements and states have accessible contrast.

We’ve also shared this on our Feature Roadmap and taken opportunities to share in specific discussions.

I hear you about making current limitations more transparent and widely available. Along with helping customers understand WCAG guidelines and how they fit within Storyline’s features, I’ll be sure to share this with my team so we can work on ways to make that happen.

Matthew Bibby

Thank you for your detailed reply Ren, I appreciate it.

I don't know how I overlooked the note about color contrast. Sorry about that. I've been part of this discussion for 9 months and it's been a rather frustrating experience. Although, that does suggest a deficiency of patience on my side!

I know that the development and testing of new features are time-consuming. But at a surface level, this seems like an easy fix. I don't understand why it's has taken so long. Couldn't you have adjusted to color to meet contrast requirements 9 months ago? And then started work on the more ambitious change? Or wasn't that an option due to the weirdness of tech?

Thanks for the offer to join the beta group. But I don't have the time to give it the attention it deserves. I think what really confused me earlier was the comment about the modern player still being in beta... whereas it seems like it's the text contrast fix that's in beta. Is that correct?

I appreciate that Articulate is making such great strides with accessibility. It's something I've wanted for a long time and it's great for the industry that it's happening. So thank you, to you and your team, for your efforts.

During this state of transition, the current state of accessibility isn't always clear. I spend a lot of time hanging out here. I do a lot of developing and testing in Storyline. Yet I don't have a solid understanding of accessibility in Storyline these days. And I know that many other talented developers feel the same way.

Part of this is due to the whole 'WIP' thing. But it's also because at times support articles are lacking important detail. It's always good to see that you've added new features! But we need to know about the limitations. The weird use cases where things don't work as they should. Common misconfiguration errors. Details of known bugs. Performance differences between browsers and screen readers. Etc. These days, it's hard for me to put my trust in new features. I need to first commit a bunch of my own time to test if they work as advertised. And that gets old quick!

But it goes beyond that. New customers come to your website. They see the VPAT and high-level accessibility announcements. They think "Great, Articulate products can meet WCAG Level AA". Then, when they are deep in development, they'll start to notice a few 'gotchas'.

Let's consider the differences with accessibility when using the classic and modern player. As you improve things, the modern player moves further away from the classic player. That makes sense, no complaints there. But if I'm developing using the classic player so I can satisfy 1.4.3... what other features am I missing out on? Can I achieve WCAG Level AA using only the classic player? Or only the modern player?

Now, I know that I’m annoying at times. With all the complaining… but I am here to help! I appreciate your patience and understanding when I am being critical. It comes from a place of love and a genuine desire to improve the accessibility of our courses.

I’ve had an idea for a while that I’d like your help with:

  • I’ll get one of my team to build two Storyline courses. They will each be 30 minutes long. One will use the classic player. The other the modern player. We will use all current SL360 features in these courses.
  • We will document the accessibility choices that we are making. A lot comes down to understanding the criteria and being capable of being discerning. During this process, we will reference the VPAT and related support articles.
  • Can you provide me with access to one of your accessibility experts during this process? I’m also open to you suggesting a particular Storyline version to use.
  • Once we've created these accessible courses. I’ll send the .story files and our notes over to you. Your accessibility team could review and make recommendations. This may help highlight any gaps in current support information.
  • We will then update the courses based on your feedback.
  • I'll then hire an independent accessibility consultant. They can review both courses and provide feedback. The goal will be WCAG Level AA.
  • I’ll then publish this as a case study on my site. I'll outline our processes. Link to relevant support articles. Share the .story files with the report from the accessibility consultant.

What do you think? You up for it?

I reckon this will be fun!

 

Lauren Connelly

Hi Matthew!

I apologize for the confusion I’ve caused regarding the Modern Player being in beta. To clarify, a Modern Player update with accessible contrast is in beta.

When it comes to accessibility, we really have all hands on deck. We have a team of engineers, writers, and members of the support team, including myself, diving into Deque University classes and attending virtual conferences centered around accessibility. We are working to not only offer products that meet and exceed accessibility guidelines but also support our customers who are designing with accessibility in mind.

With all the information we are consuming, we’ve accepted the fact that this is a journey. We are digesting information as it happens and working on publishing more resources for the community as we are able. Additionally, we are so appreciative of folx’ patience as we come up to speed with the ever-changing market and technology. We’re happy to be on this journey with folx like you, Matthew!

Thank you so much for your offer. I’ve shared this idea with our team so they can reach out to you directly.

Again, my apologies for the confusion!

Matthew Bibby

Thanks, Lauren, no worries about the confusion! I think it's at least partly my fault, from the context it should have been clear what you were talking about.

I really appreciate the efforts that Articulate is going to improve the accessibility of your products. It's wonderful! Thank you.

How are you finding the Denque courses? I've looked at their offerings before but haven't completed any of their courses yet.

And thanks for sharing my idea with the team. I look forward to hearing from them.

Math Notermans

As a sidenote on how important accessibility is for US companies. I do get a lot of requests for projects...  and a lot of these projects need to be 100% accessible. When a company wants it made in Storyline i always have to point out that the player IS NOT fully compliant to 508 guidelines.... and that major time is needed to get it fully compliant. Offcourse this can be done, but not out-of-the-box. And it should be fully compliant out of the box. Some companies then do want it developed in Storyline. Some don't and go look for better compliant tools.

Lauren Connelly

Hi Matthew!

I'm very impressed with the Deque University curriculum! It's been eye-opening and motivating. I'd highly recommend taking a look at their offerings.

I joined in on their conference, axe-con, this week which was jam-packed with sessions lead by accessibility gurus. All sessions were recorded if you have an interest in any of the sessions on their schedule.

Maria Costa-Stienstra

Hi, everyone.

I have great news to share!

We just released another update for Storyline 360. In Update 50, we’ve included important fixes and new features.

One of the features we’ve included is:

The modern player meets WCAG accessibility guidelines for visual contrast and color so all learners can read the text, decipher the icons, perceive the controls, and navigate easily. Learn more about modern player accessible contrast.

To take advantage of this update, launch the Articulate 360 desktop app on your computer and click the Update button next to Storyline 360. You'll find our step-by-step instructions here.

Please let us know if you have any questions by posting here or by reaching out to our Support Engineers directly. 

Nicole Duclos

Hi

I updated this morning and now lightboxes are behaving oddly. Please see this example.

Now when viewing in 360, engage interactions are not behaving correctly. The first time viewed, they view fine. Any time after that I get a white screen where the interaction should be and everything freezes - can’t close lightbox or use nav. 

I have a course I'm working on that includes engage interactions in lightboxes as well as other lighboxed slides with no engage interactions. They are all behaving like this. In the example I provided, only the lightbox with the engage interaction is doing it.

This was not happening yesterday or any other day previously.

Other lessons with the same functionality that were uploaded to Review360 prior to this latest update are displaying correctly!

Nicole

Nicole Duclos

03/24/21 Update - I reinstalled the previous version of Storyline and my files function correctly now. And again, all files that were published to 360 PRIOR to the latest update function correctly. Files published AFTER the latest update do not.

03/25/21 Update - The response I've received so far:

"Thanks for writing back and sharing your test results.

After careful testing, I have identified that using the lightbox trigger option "Use navigation controls" is causing the lightbox of Engage Interaction to freeze.

I’ve logged it as a possible software bug. From here, I’ll meet with my team to take a closer look so we can determine next steps."